“Scientists have wondered for a long time why madness and creativity seem linked, particularly in artists, musicians, and writers,” notes Shelley Carson, a Harvard psychologist. “Our research results indicate that low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought predispose people to mental illness under some conditions and to creative accomplishments under others.” Carson, Jordan Peterson (now at the University of Toronto), and Daniel Higgins did experiments to find out what these conditions might be. They put 182 Harvard graduate and undergraduate students through a series of tests involving listening to repeated strings of nonsense syllables, hearing background noise, and watching yellow lights on a video screen. The students also filled out questionnaires about their creative achievements on a new type of form developed by Carson, and they took standard intelligence tests. When all the scores and test results were compared, the most creative students had lower scores for latent inhibition than the less creative. “Getting swamped by new information that you have difficulty handling may predispose you to a mental disorder,” Carson says. “But if you have high intelligence and a good working memory, you are more likely to be able to combine bits of new information in creative ways.”